Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

Published 6 years ago by , Updated October 4th, 2009 at 8:54 pm,

stargate universe stargate on destiny 02 Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

Upfront: Stargate Universe premiered to a lot of hype that wasn’t completely fulfilled.  The episode was dark, as expected, but lacking in the energy I needed to really get hyped about it.  The acting wasn’t stiff, but I think the background music kept things in a very mellow state.

My devotion to the franchise kept me riveted and though I don’t think tonight’s episode was a stellar hit as some would lead you to believe, it delivered an interesting situation that will have me coming back for more… if anything, just to see if things improve or as I get more involved with the characters than I did tonight.

I don’t give everything up, but there are spoilers included below.

A Bit Of A Recap

The Stargate Universe opening scene has viewers watching a ship (the Destiny) drift towards them. The scene has a rather epic looking feel to it and what I didn’t know at the time was that this might have been the best scene of the show.

We go inside the ship and watch it slowly powering up the hallways, eventually finding ourselves looking at a Stargate powering up itself up and the event horizon bursting forth from the ring. People start to come flying through it, piling in on each other in an obvious state of panic.

Meanwhile, Dr Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) is on a balcony, looking down on the scene, almost looking pleased.

We then experience a series of flashbacks interjected with the developing real-time plot (ala Lost) that help explain some back-story on some of the characters and the developing scenario.

We see boy genius Eli Wallace (David Blue) get recruited because he solved an online game that was designed by Dr. Rush from Stargate Command.  After Wallace solves the game, Lt. General Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and Dr Rush show up at his door the next morning. Anyone ever see The Last Starfighter? I’m just saying.

When Wallace gets on board, he’s shown a series of videos to get caught up on the history of the Stargate program.  LOL – “Hi, I’m Dr. Jackson (Michael Shanks), and behind me is a Stargate.” I felt like I was watching the DNA video from Jurassic Park.

The rest of the Stargate Universe premiere shows us the attack that forced the impromptu evacuation, focusing on the people on board the Destiny as they try to comprehend their new situation situation – between each other and between them and the ship/environment they now find themselves in.

The Destiny is a ship built by the Ancients. Apparently, the Ancients sent these automated vessels out into the universe to plant Stargates, but then they ascended and kind of forgot about the ships. The Destiny is in mechanical disarray and it reminds me of my 1969 Mercury Cougar, where it will be needing a lot of duct tape.

universe backwall near completed Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

The creative team behind Stargate Universe, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, tries to pull the viewer into the dark and desperate atmosphere the survivors are in. Much like the desperate plight humanity found itself in on Battlestar Galactica.

It wasn’t very distracting to me, but if you remember, they were going to use a different filming technique that was inspired by how Joss Whedon filmed Firefly. They used a lot of hand-held camera angles and it complemented the desperate situation the people were in.  If they don’t get too carried away with this technique, it should be acceptable for viewers throughout.

Another difference I noticed only took place once in this 2-hour premiere; When we came back from a commercial break, we experienced a flashback, then we jumped into a different scene where there was a seriously steamy interaction between two people. If you were expecting a family friendly show like all the previous incarnations of Stargate, even if it was one scene, it was there.  And from what I’ve read in other sources, it won’t be the last time they throw a curve ball at the viewer in the sexuality department.

I don’t like Dr. Rush, and that’s a compliment to Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of the role. The scientific greed that Dr. Rush exhibits makes me dislike or distrust this guy.  It’s Rush’s fault they ended up on the Destiny.  During the unexplained attack on the base that forced the evacuation, Rush interrupted the emergency dialing of Earth to try a new idea he came up with about the 9th chevron. Guess it worked.

Click to continue reading about the Stargate Universe Premiere

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  1. I see everyone complaining about the sex scene (which I agree was unnecessary), but as I pointed out in another thread, the pilot of SG-1 had actual nudity in it (on the dvd). So to say that Stargate never used sexuality or sex is not true. The scene was kind of mild compared to Sharee(SP?) in the SG-1 pilot having her clothes ripped off and Apophus leering at her like a perverted drunk guy in a strip club.

  2. I really don’t understand everyone’s complaining about this show. Maybe because I’m not an original Stargate fan I thought the premiere of this new and dark show to be intense and intriguing. In short, I loved it, and I know that I’m probably going to get a lot of heat from this comment but I didn’t enjoy the last few Stargates. Sorry but I just didn’t. So I don’t know how this new one fits in or such. Maybe it just doesn’t go with your guy’s mood of how the originals are and I can understand that. From a virgin Stargater I was enthralled. It had compelling themes and dynamics such as a power struggle between politicians, military and scientists. I don’t want this to be like the other SGs (probably the point) and neither do I want the Battlestar Galactica wannabe. The characters where very real and not with out- there-over-the-top character quirks that seem to be needed in every show these days. All in all it was GOOD, it was INTREGING, and not because it’s another Stargate show but INSPITE of it.

  3. well the sticking point for me was the revelation that they got the 9 chevron address to work, so how did it work, they eliminated the fact that it couldn’t be the last position, okay, then it stands to reason that some other position was used, what was it? and if that combo placed them on an automated ship doing a three eon tour of the universe, then where might another one go?

    I don’t mind there being some conflict, I don’t mind Dr. Rush have sinister overtones attributed to him, although I think making him to be a bad guy is way too transparent when you already have a lovely amount of people just being people potential conflicts abounding with the scenario itself. Just like with some of the other syfy series, we have to let this unwind at it’s own pace and I’m content to let them have a few episodes to do so, but was it as nifty as some of the other things that syfy has given us, well we’ll have to wait and see.

  4. I watched this episode thinking, thank god its not got the jokey banter of the other shows. I think people have a desire to see that still, but i felt that it held the other shows back in that there was no tension between characters and downplayed the character development. I loved the oppressive, ominous feeling of the ship and how the characters were unsure of everything. Thats exciting to me. Because thats real. No aliens and star trek tech to overwhelm the story. Let the character growth be the star of the show.
    I didn’t enjoy the back and forth flashbacks, it was confusing. And I dont think it should be used anymore.
    Besides all that, I have no idea if this show will make it, though if it stays the course and tries to learn from its mistake it will be damn good, but that doesnt guarantee longevity, thats up to viewers and ratings.

  5. I agree. I’m a huge fan of the franchise, but this Pilot episode didn’t excite me too much. I’ll definitely keep watching in hopes that my excitement about the show will increase.

    I’m actualy happy they went the more adult route and changed up the style a little. Also, it’s pretty easy to follow, (if you’re a fan of the previous shows) and all the cameos are great. If you’re new to the franchise, you’ll probably be confused

    I guess my main problem with episode is that the reason why they end up where they are is kind of unfulfilling. Instead of making Dr. Rush the bad greedy scientist right away, they could have easily scripted in finding code to the 9th chevron and had the gate open to the Destiny before the attack took place. Then follow this by going the, “there isn’t enough time to dial earth, “ or “ the gate wont shut down,“ route, which would have forced them to go into the gate because that’s all they could do.

    Unfortunately, it feels more like a rush job to get them on the Destiny, much like the way Star Trek Voyager had a quite lame reason why they got stuck in the delta quadrant. Hope it gets better.

  6. I’m a huge fan of the original Stargate and Stargate Atlantis. The feeling of ‘family’ and camaraderie on both shows was great. Both shows had very strong, definite characters. Stargate Universe, not so much… yet.

    With the exception of Dr. Rush and Eli, the rest of the characters seemed two dimensional and flat. It felt like they could all disappear off the ship and not be missed.

    I will keep watching (at least for awhile) in hopes there is eventually some character development and a feeling of cohesiveness among the group.

    I was so psyched up for this premier and severely deflated when it was over. Not what I had hoped for…

  7. Give me back Atlantis!!!

  8. adding to that thought… The real point of finding atlantis was to find all the cool stuff there… Did they ever find anything cool? They found 2 ships and blew one up and gave the other away… basicly all we got in 5 years were the city flying once (in the finale) and puddle jumpers… let’s go back to atlantis and find some cool tech and work with the asguard or fight them or something like we saw near the end of season 5. I repeat give me back Atlantis!!!

  9. So what I’m seeing is that non-fans came into this premiere and the show seemed to resonate well with you, while fans from the previous franchises came in with different expectations and weren’t so happy.

    Albeit, I still think on its own, I stand by what I said, but I see the patterns forming.

    Thanks for chiming in gang. Appreciate seeing the different perspectives.

  10. Nothing in this show grabbed me. I won’t be back.

    This thing ws Stargate Meets Voyager Meets Battlestar Galactica.


  11. I liked this show. I watched SG-1 and some Stargate Atlantis. I think every show should have a unique undertone to it and this did. The Flashbacks where annoying, can’t disagree on that. If any of you watched the trailer and went online to the stargate website you would have figured out that this show would be different. Why in heavens name do most Science fiction fans want the same type of things? It happens with every new science fiction show. I love to watch science fiction, but I love twists, and character quirks. Call me weird but I didn’t see to much a problem (except the sex scene). Even if the flashbacks where annoying they kept me into it. Let it be unique and different. Don’t watch it if you don’t think it lives up to your expectations. I’d rather watch one season of it this way and have it taken off the air, then have it change tone just because the viewership doesn’t think if has enough sarcasm and unity. Speaking about Unity. How much unity would you think you would have if you where stuck on a spaceship billions of light years from home with at least 100 other people?

  12. Our family, including our children, always looked forward to “Stargate Night”. Unfortuatley my children were watching the pilot with me. We were very unhappy with the new show and will not be watching. The sex was unacceptable and we miss the fun aspect of the show. How sad to ruin a show.

  13. I personally couldn’t watch the SGU premier without sighing every few minutes. I thought this show might be okay because I am a fan of character interaction, and don’t need tons of action to be interested in a show. That is how the show was promoted. But, this show didn’t do it for me.

    I miss Atlantis. I really liked those characters. And I wasn’t even a fan of some of the season 4-5 changes with the cast (Ford, Weir, and Beckett Rule!!), but it was way better than SGU. If people like SGU, more power to them. But, it’s definately not the show for me.

  14. Same here, watched this on hulu with my family around. Then get blindsided by the sex scene. This type of crap isn’t necesssary to make a show.

  15. Fantastic pilot. Stargate viewers are growing older and the show is maturing along with them – if I recall, the FIRST episode of Stargate had full frontal nudity in it, so this sex scene was rather tame compared to that… but I supposed some people conveniently forget. Much like Star Trek: Enterprise was a good show that was destroyed by Trekkies in their 50′s+ who only want more of the original instead of something that continues the evolution of a show (and is a necessary step toward keeping something fresh), Stargate fans continually want more of the same – anything after O’Neall is heresy or just not as good as it was before – which signaled the death of the original Stargate even though seasons 9 and 10 were very well written and acted. As far as I’m concerned the quality of writing continues to grow, as does the style and storytelling that Stargate is using – but if fans continue to live in the past and not in the now, all they are doing is dooming their favorite franchies. But I guess that’s not all that terrible, they have DVD’s to watch over and over again!

    Mind you, I won’t be happy but I like my show.

  16. I got the “Last Starfighter” vibe myself, but rolled with it. It’s not a trope that’s used all that often, and it served a good purpose here.

    Things I liked:

    The leads. Good solid acting from most of the cast. Carlyle made you love to hate the guy, but there are shades and hints of depth to the character that I found absorbing. Eli had me attached to his story whenever he was allowed the spotlight. Would have liked to have seen more, but that’s why it’s a series and not a movie.

    The concept. Yes, it’s “Lost in Space” Stargate style, but there’s the extra added elements like the time limited gate usage, and the fact that these people essentially were thrown unprepared, into this situation. They only have what they brought with them in the hurried moments of an evacuation. Their doc is a field medic. Initial provisions are energy bars. All good elements and were mostly well used in the pilot.

    The SFX. They really have come a long way from SG1, and watching in HD made me feel I was watching cinema sci-fi.

    What I didn’t like:

    The aforementioned sex scene. It served no purpose, and generally speaking, it doesn’t fit any context of Stargate series. I fast forwarded through it. (DVR’s are great)

    The imitation BSG camera work and editing. Seriously, this kind of imitation is not flattering. It’s trendyness for the sake of the trend. There’s no reason for it.

    There were some scenes that felt like they were trying too hard to create character conflicts. Particularly the scenes developing the medic character. I like the situation she ends up in (swamped and suddenly in charge of all injured patients) but her backstory was distracting and uninteresting. This goes for a few of the other characters as well, such as the soldier who was being held in the brig only to be released to help with the evac. His story too felt included only to generate mechanical conflict rather than genuine drama. Besides, there’s already one “Dr. Smith” on this trip and he’s already being capably played by Carlyle.

    Overall, I was more enthusiastic about the positive than I was discouraged by the negative. Good marks overall, but with some room for improvement. These are the same writers as with other stargate series, so we know they’re capable of doing this. Will be watching to see how things develop.

  17. Just want to add that I agree with what allen said. The SG franchise can handle a little more seriousness. The other series played around more with wink-and-nod humor, but a more serious SGU can be done without scrapping the humor altogether. I have the feeling that Eli will be the source of much of it, as a source of tension relief when things get dicey, much like Jayne and Wash did for Firefly and Serenity.

  18. Glad to see so many folks sharing my point of view about the show. Looks like it may have to depend more on new viewers than the built-in fanbase.


  19. More than once, I’ve seen the sex scene referenced and compared to the frontal nudity of the original pilot.

    How can we compare one standing still and naked vs. two sweaty grunting bodies thumping on each other? (Sorry about the descriptor.)

    I’m not sure how these two are comparable gang.

  20. Personally the pilot didn’t “win” me over, however it wasnt from the source deviation, but from some of the general aspects of the show. Overall it was a fun ride and I never really lost interest in the story or the characters however there was a second or two where I was just pulled out by the slight bad imitation of BSG. Stargate can still be a serious, character driven story without having to rely on the same tricks that BSG did. For example, in one scene MingNas character more or less provoked the Greer character for no reason what so ever. Sure the guy was in the brig earlier but given the current situation your in, would it really be wise to provoke a guy who is there to help you and who is also carrying a very large gun? It just seemed like a forced interaction to me. Stargate can be dark and brooding and gritty and sexy, but make it realistic. As for the sex scene, who cares? If your a parent and you were watching it with your kid and you were offended, then maybe you should have DVRd it first and watched through it before allowing your child to. We all knew ahead of time that the show was going for a darker feel. Anyway, I’m not going to give up on a franchise I love just because its trying something different. I mean if we survived the five years of Atlantis, which featured the most cookie cut cast of characters Ive ever seen, then we can survive this.

  21. In regards to the sex scene.

    Please, don’t act suprised. They clearly have stated that this is a darker series a la Battlestar Galactica and I’m sure people didn’t huddle around their tv’s with little children to watch it. And yes I understand how the previous series’ were more family friendly. However, if you’re on these comment boards, you clearly follow SR, and thus have read how they want to go edgier and darker. So, really, shocked? Suprised? The sex was unacceptable? Please, you knew what you were getting. And did those who were unhappy with that scene ignore the Television content rating system which stated, TV 14.

    Let me define that for those “shocked.”


    (Recommended for people 14 or older)

    Programs issued the TV-14 rating are usually unsuitable for children under the age of 14. This rating may be accompanied by any of the following sub-ratings:

    * D for intensely suggestive dialogue
    * L for strong coarse language
    * S for intense SEXUAL situations
    * V for intense violence

    Many programs that air after 9:00 pm are rated TV-14, including late night staples like The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. Certain PG-13 or R-rated feature films are rated TV-14 when edited for broadcast. Adult animations—such as Family Guy, which features crude humor and mature content—often have a TV-14 rating.

    Live programming like televised awards ceremonies, concerts, and some specials will be issued a general TV-14 rating, because of the possibility that profanity or suggestive dialogue may occur.

  22. Its less fun then then the previous Stargate shows .

  23. After watching the two hour opening show, I was left with just one question. They cancelled Atlantis for this? With any successful series one must care about the characters and about what happens to them. I couldn’t care less about what happens to any of the characters on SGU. I am not blaming the actors, as they can only do as well as the script allows, and it didn’t allow very much. I realize all series take awhile to “find themselves.” However, while it may eventually be successful, SGU has a very long way to go to accomplish this. First Impression grade: D

  24. Hopefully,
    Syfy will inject more HUMOR into the show !
    Thats what I view as the big flaw right now .
    We shall see.

  25. Just pick a side!

    Stargate Universe was ultimately disappointing for me. I did appreciate that in this launch that they took time to introduce the key players and resisted the urge to have things blow up and throw in CGI for the heck of it. I did not appreciate the TV standard formulaic plot points. Despite the obvious inspiration from BSG no character in this drama is atypical. Everyone behaves and does what we expect them to do, carefully clichéd and choreographed right to the end of the episode.

    As for the attempt to walk the line between adult oriented drama and the swashbuckling style of the previous Stargate series all I can say is its not working for me at this point. Of course I must be patient and give this new series time to find out what it can be. My first impression is blah blah blah and yada yada yada. I hope this show either moves toward the dark side or moves toward the spirit of the original series. I could enjoy it wither way but trying to straddle the fence will only provide frustration and a pair of sore cajones for us viewers.

    As for the sex scene, nothing wrong with it, we all knew beside killing aliens Stargate personal also have sex. Of course it suffered from the straddling the fence syndrome. Normal Stargate viewers will be shocked and BSG inclined viewers will view it as weak. Like I said pick a side and get off the fence and then we will see what we have here.

  26. I am confused! The Destiny is supposed to be one of many unmanned spaceships searching for stargates in outer galaxies. Then why is it so big and apparently ergonomically designed for crew and passengers? Lou diamond Phillips appears in the promo photos but fails to make it through the stargate. I guess it was a cameo. Personally I was disappointed. I couldn’t get into the characters as with previous franchises. There doesn’t appear to be any strong likable lead character. I hope the Atlantis movies come out soon.

  27. The premiere is on Tuesday night here in the UK. Looking forward to it despite the mixed reaction.

    Only thing I can say is that if I don’t like it straight off, that will continue a tradition for me. I found Stargate dull and it wasn’t until a few series later that I saw what fun it was. Atlantis didn’t grab me either. Once you get into the characters the show gets better. If the characters develop well this time, I’ll stay with it.

  28. I loved this show. I can’t wait to see more!! From the very first second of the show, I felt goosebumps all over. As for the sex scene, I must say I liked it. It prooves that the stargate franchise has grown.

    And I must say, without any cameos by Richard dean anderson, michael shanks, or amanda tapping or even gary jones, this show would not be the same.

  29. Remember the original SG1 started on Showtime and was pickup by SCIFI. I thought the sex scene was like a salute or remembrance of SG’s beginnings. I didn’t think the original show would hold a candle to the movie. I was wrong. Some of the characters in SGU are shaping up to be very interesting. I will wait and see how the show goes. I can be proven wrong again. The danger I see is it ends up to much like Star Trek. The question will always be why can’t the ship course be reversed to a stargate. Then just Stargate home. I hope they deal with this early.